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With move to new City Hall imminent, officials consider best use of 7,100-square-foot leaseable space

With move to new City Hall imminent, officials consider best use of 7,100-square-foot leaseable space
With plans to re-locate to a new City Hall in mid-February, La Cañada Flintridge city officials are considering how to best occupy some 7,100 square feet of leaseable space on the building's first floor. (File photo)

La Cañada city officials announced last Tuesday their plan to move into a new city hall in the Town Center in mid-February, and two days later La Cañada Chamber of Commerce officials confirmed they, too, would soon take up residence in the 27,781-square-foot building.

The only question that remains now is what other businesses or organizations will come fill the remaining 7,100 square feet of leaseable space in the building’s first floor. A City Council subcommittee has been looking at the issue and has some interesting ideas about what they’d like to see there.

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Councilman Mike Davitt, who sits on the subcommittee with Councilman Jon Curtis, confirmed about four to six people have inquired about renting the space so far and come to look at it. The rental rate the city is considering is roughly $3 per square foot, give or take a few dimes.

So far, the subcommittee hasn’t made a recommendation as to what type of enterprise would work best in the space, currently zoned “Mixed Use II” in La Cañada’s Downtown Village Specific Plan. Davitt said the idea of a creative office space where people could drop in to work would be nice but city officials are staying open minded.

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“I don’t think you could say we’d rule out anything specifically,” he said Friday. “We need a tenant who’s going to be reliable and pay their rent — that’s got to be one of our top goals.”

Curtis said he’d like to lease to someone whose operations would be “synergistic” with La Cañada businesses, schools and other local initiatives and could potentially provide a boost to job growth and economic development in the Town Center.

“This could be an incubator type of use focused on the expanding industry of space,” he said. “With JPL in our city and the activities in our schools and our Sister Cities Assn., with a sister city that has a European Space Agency facility, it’s something I believe we need to fully explore.”

Curtis said he’s been exploring such an avenue and that there are “parties who have expressed an interest” in continuing talks.

City Manager Mark Alexander confirmed the city has entered into an agreement with Pasadena-based brokerage firm NAI Capital, Inc. to market the space to prospective tenants and evaluate offers received.

“[We’re] open to different types of office uses, but such uses must be compatible with the city hall operations,” Alexander said in an email, clarifying that the ideal tenant would not interfere with civic business or impose undue burdens on parking and noise levels.

“The city has a preference for leasing to a single tenant, however is not closed to the idea of multiple tenants,” the city manager added.

Meanwhile, Chamber of Commerce chief executive Pat Anderson said her organization has entered an agreement to move from their current location since 1989, in the Allen Lund Co. headquarters, to an office space on the first floor of the new city hall, where employees might be a resource to visitors.

Chamber staff are waiting for City Atty. Adrian Guerra to finalize the lease, she said, and beginning their preparations for a move possibly in March or early April.

“It’s going to be a little bit bigger than what we have here, but it’s going to look bigger because it’s going to be so open,” Anderson said. “We’ll definitely be making better use of our space.”

Davitt said while there’s no hard deadline on finding a new tenant, it would be a positive step to see plans firming up sometime in the next six months.

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